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USC’s 2019 Win Total Drops to 7.0; Will Clay Helton Get Trojans Back on Track?

USC quarterback JT Daniels prepares to snap a pass
JT Daniels has been named USC's starting quarterback in 2019. Photo from @USC_Athletics (Twitter).
  • USC’s 2019 win total has dropped from 7.5 to 7.0
  • The Trojans finished with an ugly 5-7 record last year
  • Can maligned coach Clay Helton get USC back to a bowl game in 2019?

USC’s 2019 win total has dropped from 7.5 to 7.0 as of the latest update to SBD’s 2019 NCAAF win totals tracker.

The pressure is on coach Clay Helton to lead the Trojans to a rebound year. USC went a disappointing 5-7 in 2018, but boast a lethal offense and an emerging quarterback in JT Daniels.

Could we see a strong bounce-back campaign for the Trojans? Check USC’s win total over/under odds in 2019.

USC 2019 Win Totals

Team Win Total Odds 1 Win Total Odds 2 Win Total Odds 3
USC 7.0 (-110o/-110u) 7.0 (-125o/-105u) 7.0 (-125o/-105u)

*Odds taken 08/22/19.

The Pressure is on Coach Clay Helton

This is going to be a make-or-break season for USC coach Clay Helton. Fans have voiced their displeasure with the fourth-year coach after the Trojans went 5-7 in 2018 — USC’s first losing season since 2000. If things don’t go well this year, it’s very unlikely Helton sees a fifth season.

Will we see a rebound year?

Prior to a disastrous 2018 campaign, the Trojans had gone 21-6 in Helton’s first two seasons, winning a Rose Bowl and a Pac-12 championship. The Pac-12 is set to be a three-way race between Oregan, Washington and Utah in 2019, with USC currently listed at +850 odds to win the conference.

Emerging quarterback JT Daniels is paired with new offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. That marriage appears to set up the Trojans nicely for a rebound year, but it isn’t going to be easy.

USC Has Very Tough Schedule

If USC can get through an intense first part of the season, I like their chances of getting to seven or eight wins. But that’s a big “if”.

Their Week 1 opponent, Fresno State, won 12 games last season, while the Trojans also have to face Stanford, Utah and Washington in the first five games of the year.

I don’t like the odds of USC beating  Stanford, Utah or Washington in divisional crossover play, but I think the Trojans could prevail in Week 1 over Fresno State, considering the Bulldogs have five new starters on the defensive side and eight new starting parts on offense, including quarterback Jorge Reyna.

I also like USC’s chances to beat BYU in Week 3 in what will likely be a quarterback showdown between Daniels and the Cougars’ Zach Wilson.

If the Trojans can go 2-3 in the first five games of the season, they should get up to seven wins by beating Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, California and UCLA later in the year. I don’t like their chances against Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon in Week 10, but that matchup against the Utes on Sep. 20 will be circled on everyone’s calendars.

While Utah’s defensive line is going to put a ton of pressure on Daniels, keep in mind that Utah has never defeated the Trojans at the L.A. Coliseum — and that’s exactly where this Friday-night clash will be played.

The issue here is, if the Trojans lose a couple games right away, it will pile on even more to the toxic atmosphere surrounding the team and the season could spiral out of control.

Yet, when you look at USC’s individuals opponents, I think there is value on over 7.0 at -110.

Talented Offense is Reason to Bet on USC

USC boasts one of the best wide-receiver corps in the nation with Michael Pittman Jr, Tyler Vaughns, and Amon-Ra St. Brown forming a lethal trio. Pittman led the entire Pac-12 last season with 18.5 yards per reception, while Brown’s 750 total receiving yards were good for 11th in the conference. Vaughns should take on a bigger role this season after catching 58 passes in 2018 as a sophomore.

What’s it’s going to come down to, however, is Daniels and how he adapts to the new offense. Daniels started 11 games as a true freshman in 2018, throwing for 2,672 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

With a new offense that suits the passing game and Harrell calling the shots, I’d rather bet on Daniels than against him. The August 31st opener against Fresno State sets him up nicely to gain confidence early. The experience from his first year will also play a key role.

Verdict on the Trojans’ Win Total

USC’s season could very well turn ugly if they don’t get off to a decent start. I’ll still take the over, though.

The Trojans could potentially reach eight wins if they prevail in some tough, yet winnable matchups early in the season.

I’m not huge on USC, but with Helton on the extreme hotseat, I like their odds of rebounding over their odds of turning in another losing season.

Pick: Over 7.0 wins (-115)

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